Eating Out: Healthy Food Choices at Thai Restaurants

Though some types of cuisine are better left alone while you are looking to improve your healthy food choices, the good news is that you can go to dinner at a Thai restaurant without forsaking a healthy eating plan. There are very few Thai foods that are completely off limits, and almost anything on the menu can be made diet friendly. However, you’ve got to be ingredient savvy.

Start with Soup

Instead of ordering fried spring rolls, begin your meal with soup as an appetizer. The water content will help you to feel full quickly. Be careful to stay away from cream-based soups, such as coconut soup. Instead, aim for a soup with a clear broth that contains mostly meat and vegetables.

Avoid Fried Foods

Instead of fried foods, choose menu items that contain the word “steamed.” This means that you can savor steamed dumplings, fish, meat and vegetables, while avoiding the extra calories and fat that go hand in hand with any fried items. (Don’t forget to avoid dishes that contain fried rice as well.)

Lots of Vegetables

One of the best ways to ensure that you’re making healthy food choices is to find ways to get in as many vegetables as you can during your meal. Look for an entree like a salad with meat, such as Yam Neua Yang (beef salad). Because the meat will be cooked with traditional Thai spices, you’ll still get to savor intense Thai flavors while enjoying a protein- and vegetable-based entree.

Limit Creamy Sauces

When hunting for healthy food choices in a Thai restaurant, steer clear of those delicious curries, which often contain large amounts of high-fat coconut milk. If you must have curry, try one that contains fish, and request that it be made with extra vegetables, instead of potatoes. When it comes to peanut sauce, ask your server to bring your sauce on the side, and watch your portion sizes.

Watch the Pasta Intake

Noodles, as yummy as they are, are still simple carbohydrates that will cause blood sugar spikes and leave you feeling tired and hungry soon after you’re done eating. To find the healthiest food choices, avoid dishes that contain large amounts of rice or noodles, such as Pad Thai. If you must have a starch, be sure to request brown rice instead of noodles or white rice. Brown rice contains more fiber than white rice.

Easy on the Sugar

Be careful of dishes that contain sugary ingredients, like sweet and sour sauce or oyster sauce. If you can’t stand the idea of skipping your favorite sauce completely, ask your sever if he can bring your sauce on the side. This compromise will allow you the chance to taste the sweet flavor without drenching your food in it.


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